Irony Used in Austen's Pride and Prejudice Essay

Irony Used in Austen's Pride and Prejudice Essay

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Jane Austen combines the theme of irony with satire and drama in Pride and Prejudice to emphasize the overall basic plot of the story. Essentially, the positions and stances the characters hold on the issues on family, marriage, and love, change throughout the book, differing from the previous expectations seen at the beginning of the novel for each individual character. A great example of this is the position that Mr. Bennet holds on the idea of a happy marriage at the beginning of the novel, and then at the end, after many relationships developed, how everything ironically turns out. Austen wittily uses the opening line of the novel: “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife” (Austen 3), to foreshadow the desires of proud and prejudiced characters in the first volume, and how they evolve to be less conceited and more appreciative in the second.
Throughout the first half of the book, most of the characters are only beginning to be explored and the Pride and Prejudice part of the novel is revealed through two opposing characters who ironically start falling in love as the story progresses. But before this, a significant passage is to be acknowledged because it reinforces the idea of what an ideal marriage should be and demonstrates the ideology of wealth and class. In the very first page of the novel, after the opening line, Mrs. Bennet converses with her husband and speaks about a rich man entering town, claiming he would be a great candidate for one of their daughters because of his fortune: “Oh! single, my dear, to be sure! A single man of large fortune; four or five thousand pounds a year. What a fine thing for our girls!” (3). Indifferently, Mr. Benne...

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...y was the one who helped Lydia and his rival because of the love he had for Elizabeth. The ironic ending Austen uses, sets up the final decision Elizabeth makes when she believes truly that she does love Darcy and sees the change he went through to prove his love for her: “For herself, she was humbled; but she was proud of him. Proud that in a cause of compassion and honor he had been able to get the better of himself. She read over her aunt’s commendation of him again and again” (235).
Using different types of irony in her story, Jane Austen was able to bring pieces of the story together to form a powerful ending which showed the significant change in the Pride and Prejudice characters and their influences on each other, which concluded with a happy ending.

Works Cited
Austen, Jane. Pride and Prejudice. Intro. Anna Quindlen, New York: The Modern Library, 1995.

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